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Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)/maize (Zea mays L.) intercropping provides a feasible way to improve yield and economic incomes in farming and pastoral areas of northeast China.

Sun B, Peng Y, Yang H, Li Z, Gao Y, Wang C, Yan Y, Liu Y - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: Given the growing challenges to food and eco-environmental security as well as sustainable development of animal husbandry in the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China, it is crucial to identify advantageous intercropping modes and some constraints limiting its popularization.When intercropped, maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in wide rows was identified as the optimal strategy and the largely complementary ecological niches of alfalfa and maize were shown to account for the intercropping advantages, optimizing resource utilization and improving yield and economic incomes.These findings suggest that alfalfa/maize intercropping has obvious advantages over monoculture and is applicable to the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Key Laboratory of Vegetation Ecology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China.

ABSTRACT
Given the growing challenges to food and eco-environmental security as well as sustainable development of animal husbandry in the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China, it is crucial to identify advantageous intercropping modes and some constraints limiting its popularization. In order to assess the performance of various intercropping modes of maize and alfalfa, a field experiment was conducted in a completely randomized block design with five treatments: maize monoculture in even rows, maize monoculture in alternating wide and narrow rows, alfalfa monoculture, maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in wide rows and maize intercropped with two rows of alfalfa in wide rows. Results demonstrate that maize monoculture in alternating wide and narrow rows performed best for light transmission, grain yield and output value, compared to in even rows. When intercropped, maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in wide rows was identified as the optimal strategy and the largely complementary ecological niches of alfalfa and maize were shown to account for the intercropping advantages, optimizing resource utilization and improving yield and economic incomes. These findings suggest that alfalfa/maize intercropping has obvious advantages over monoculture and is applicable to the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China.

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Light transmission dynamics of maize and alfalfa at different layers under monoculture and intercropping.The inset figures show the average light transmission of maize and alfalfa in different planting patterns during the vegetation period. A  =  top light transmission of maize, B  =  intermediate light transmission of maize, C  =  bottom light transmission of maize, D  =  top light transmission of alfalfa, E  =  intermediate light transmission of alfalfa, F  =  bottom light transmission of alfalfa. MME  =  monoculture maize in even rows, MMW  =  monoculture maize in alternating wide and narrow rows, MA  =  alfalfa monoculture, IMA1  =  maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in the wide rows, IMA2  =  maize intercropped with two rows of alfalfa in the wide rows. Different letters for the same date indicate significant difference at P <0.05 probability level, and ns represents no difference between treatments. Values  =  means ± SE.
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pone-0110556-g002: Light transmission dynamics of maize and alfalfa at different layers under monoculture and intercropping.The inset figures show the average light transmission of maize and alfalfa in different planting patterns during the vegetation period. A  =  top light transmission of maize, B  =  intermediate light transmission of maize, C  =  bottom light transmission of maize, D  =  top light transmission of alfalfa, E  =  intermediate light transmission of alfalfa, F  =  bottom light transmission of alfalfa. MME  =  monoculture maize in even rows, MMW  =  monoculture maize in alternating wide and narrow rows, MA  =  alfalfa monoculture, IMA1  =  maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in the wide rows, IMA2  =  maize intercropped with two rows of alfalfa in the wide rows. Different letters for the same date indicate significant difference at P <0.05 probability level, and ns represents no difference between treatments. Values  =  means ± SE.

Mentions: With the exception of the first flowering stage of alfalfa (early June), no significant difference was found in light transmission at the top of maize among treatments (Figure 2A). At the stage of the first flowering of alfalfa, light transmission of monoculture maize (MME and MMW) was significantly higher than that of intercropped maize (IMA1 and IMA2) (P <0.0001), whereas there was no significant difference between monoculture modes or between intercropping modes. This can be accounted for by the fact that during flowering, alfalfa grew taller than maize, which had an overshadowing effect. On the whole, however, no significant difference was observed for average light transmission at the top of maize, regardless of cropping pattern (Figure 2A inset).


Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)/maize (Zea mays L.) intercropping provides a feasible way to improve yield and economic incomes in farming and pastoral areas of northeast China.

Sun B, Peng Y, Yang H, Li Z, Gao Y, Wang C, Yan Y, Liu Y - PLoS ONE (2014)

Light transmission dynamics of maize and alfalfa at different layers under monoculture and intercropping.The inset figures show the average light transmission of maize and alfalfa in different planting patterns during the vegetation period. A  =  top light transmission of maize, B  =  intermediate light transmission of maize, C  =  bottom light transmission of maize, D  =  top light transmission of alfalfa, E  =  intermediate light transmission of alfalfa, F  =  bottom light transmission of alfalfa. MME  =  monoculture maize in even rows, MMW  =  monoculture maize in alternating wide and narrow rows, MA  =  alfalfa monoculture, IMA1  =  maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in the wide rows, IMA2  =  maize intercropped with two rows of alfalfa in the wide rows. Different letters for the same date indicate significant difference at P <0.05 probability level, and ns represents no difference between treatments. Values  =  means ± SE.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4199727&req=5

pone-0110556-g002: Light transmission dynamics of maize and alfalfa at different layers under monoculture and intercropping.The inset figures show the average light transmission of maize and alfalfa in different planting patterns during the vegetation period. A  =  top light transmission of maize, B  =  intermediate light transmission of maize, C  =  bottom light transmission of maize, D  =  top light transmission of alfalfa, E  =  intermediate light transmission of alfalfa, F  =  bottom light transmission of alfalfa. MME  =  monoculture maize in even rows, MMW  =  monoculture maize in alternating wide and narrow rows, MA  =  alfalfa monoculture, IMA1  =  maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in the wide rows, IMA2  =  maize intercropped with two rows of alfalfa in the wide rows. Different letters for the same date indicate significant difference at P <0.05 probability level, and ns represents no difference between treatments. Values  =  means ± SE.
Mentions: With the exception of the first flowering stage of alfalfa (early June), no significant difference was found in light transmission at the top of maize among treatments (Figure 2A). At the stage of the first flowering of alfalfa, light transmission of monoculture maize (MME and MMW) was significantly higher than that of intercropped maize (IMA1 and IMA2) (P <0.0001), whereas there was no significant difference between monoculture modes or between intercropping modes. This can be accounted for by the fact that during flowering, alfalfa grew taller than maize, which had an overshadowing effect. On the whole, however, no significant difference was observed for average light transmission at the top of maize, regardless of cropping pattern (Figure 2A inset).

Bottom Line: Given the growing challenges to food and eco-environmental security as well as sustainable development of animal husbandry in the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China, it is crucial to identify advantageous intercropping modes and some constraints limiting its popularization.When intercropped, maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in wide rows was identified as the optimal strategy and the largely complementary ecological niches of alfalfa and maize were shown to account for the intercropping advantages, optimizing resource utilization and improving yield and economic incomes.These findings suggest that alfalfa/maize intercropping has obvious advantages over monoculture and is applicable to the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Key Laboratory of Vegetation Ecology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China.

ABSTRACT
Given the growing challenges to food and eco-environmental security as well as sustainable development of animal husbandry in the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China, it is crucial to identify advantageous intercropping modes and some constraints limiting its popularization. In order to assess the performance of various intercropping modes of maize and alfalfa, a field experiment was conducted in a completely randomized block design with five treatments: maize monoculture in even rows, maize monoculture in alternating wide and narrow rows, alfalfa monoculture, maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in wide rows and maize intercropped with two rows of alfalfa in wide rows. Results demonstrate that maize monoculture in alternating wide and narrow rows performed best for light transmission, grain yield and output value, compared to in even rows. When intercropped, maize intercropped with one row of alfalfa in wide rows was identified as the optimal strategy and the largely complementary ecological niches of alfalfa and maize were shown to account for the intercropping advantages, optimizing resource utilization and improving yield and economic incomes. These findings suggest that alfalfa/maize intercropping has obvious advantages over monoculture and is applicable to the farming and pastoral areas of northeast China.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus